Cultural Prosperity and Good Society in Taiwan: Reflections at the 30th Anniversary of the End of Martial Law


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Taiwan stands out as a shining example of smooth and successful transition from a traditional and authoritarian society to a modern and democratic society. The End of Martial Law in 1987 is obviously the turning point of this transition. To celebrate and reflect at the 30th anniversary of this remarkable turning point, the symposium focuses on the abiding theme of “cultural prosperity and good society,” because Taiwan’s achievements in these aspects are truly outstanding. Culturally, Taiwan manages to preserve the essence of tradition while embracing diversity, individuality and creativity, leading to cultural prosperities in film, arts, music, museum, and creative industries. Socially, Taiwan made admirable progresses in constructing civility (公德) and a viable civil society, and consequently, has witnessed the fast growth of societal forces. A group of leading Taiwan and American scholars on these topics will engage the public through keynote speech, panel presentations and roundtable dialogue as well as Q&A session after film screening in this daylong event as showing in the program agenda below.

Symposium Program:

8:40 am - 9:00 am


9:00 am -9:15 am

Opening remarks

9:15 am -10:45 am

Round table on Cultural Prosperity

Speakers: Professor Fang-Ming Chen, National Cheng-Chi Univ., Taiwan

Professor Michael Berry, UCLA

Chair: Professor Shih Shu-mei, UCLA

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Panel on community empowerment

Speakers: Dr. Rwei-Ren Wu, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Professor Shelly Rigger, Davidson College

Chair: Professor Yunxiang Yan, UCLA

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Keynote speech over light lunch

Speaker: Professor Shelly Rigger, Davidson College

2:05 pm - 4:05 pm

Film screening: Super Citizen Ko, directed by Wan Jen

4:05 pm - 4:30 pm

Post-screening Q & A with Professor Robert Chi, UCLA


Shelley Rigger
is a Professor in the Political Science and Chinese Studies Department in Davidson College. She is the author of Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse (Rowman and Littlefield 2011) as well as two books on Taiwan's domestic politics, Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (Routledge 1999) and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (Lynne Rienner Publishers 2001).

Fang-Ming Chen was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1947. His is the Chair Professor of the Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature. His major in Taiwanese history and Taiwanese Literature. His publications include Revolution and Poetry (2017) and A History of Modern Literary History (2011).

Rwei-Ren Wu
is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Taiwan History. He received his Ph. D. in Politics from the University of Chicago. His specialty includes comparative politics, Asian nationalism, political history and history of political thoughts (modern Taiwan and Japan).

Michael Berry is a Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. His areas of research include modern and contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese cinema, popular culture in modern China, and literary translation. He is the author of A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film.

Yunxiang Yan is a Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA. His research interests include economic anthropology, social change and development, family and kinship, exchange theory, peasant study, and cultural globalization. He is the authored The Individualization of Chinese Society (Oxford: Bert. 2009) and Private Life under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949-1999 (Stanford University Press 2003).

Robert Chi is a Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. He studied at Yale University (BA) and Harvard University (MA, PhD). His teaching and research focus on Chinese cinema in all senses of that term. He has taught, researched, and published on a range of topics across China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan including public memory, visual culture, film exhibition, film music, documentary, and martial arts films.

The UCLA Center for Chinese Studies is pleased to co-organize an international symposium at UCLA with the Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles.

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Published: Friday, November 17, 2017